How hardcore do I need this computer to be? Advice would be awesome.

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Alicepire, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. Alicepire macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #1
    Hey guys,
    I'm trying to work out what sort of computer my cousin needs, but I don't actually use any of these graphics programs, so I don't know how hardcore this computer needs to be. They don't have a bunch of cash, so I don't want to go too far overboard, but I want it to be able to keep up and have a bit of grunt to spare so when the programs get more hardcore next year.
    He needs to be able to run 3D Studio Max and a bunch of other large apps, often all at the same time. He's an interior designer and his partner is an architect, so they need to be able to run programs that have stuff to do with that.
    So what say you friendly folk?
    Thanks for the help, in advance.
    -Alice
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    3D Studio Max is for Windows only, I'm no expert but most CAD apps also seem to be mainly Windows based. There doesn't seem much point in buying a Mac Pro just to run Windows on all day.
     
  3. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #3
    Are they looking for a Mac or do you just want hardware advice?
     
  4. Alicepire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #4
    They're looking for a Mac because Macs are supposed to be great for people dealing with graphics stuff and their old computer is a Mac and Macs are generally more awesome. But if a PC is a better way to go then I'll start looking into that.
    They were hoping to go out and buy it tomorrow, or next week sometime (they've just moved back to Australia and need a computer ASAP).
     
  5. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    You or they need to do some research and understand their software needs.

    If more of the stuff they want to run is Windows only then buying a Mac makes no sense.
     
  6. Alicepire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #6
    Thanks for the advice edesignuk. I'll try to get the names of some of the other programs they want to run.
     
  7. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #7
    There's another cost you need to consider.

    Switching OS's means switching applications as well, so if they're running a Mac now, they'd have to upgrade to Windows apps. For what they're using, it's not a cheap proposition. So please keep that in mind, as the software can easily out cost the machine.
     
  8. Alicepire thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #8
    So would it then be a good idea to stick with a Mac machine, but put in a drive that runs windows (noting that these guys are not very computer savvy), or run Boot Camp or something? I read that 3D Studio Max didn't make friends with Boot Camp, would Parallels be more 3DSM friendly?
     
  9. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #9
    No it wouldn't. Studio Max needs the full power of the graphics card. If you can get a list of the software they use and whether it is on Windows or OS X (just a list of software they own licenses for) and the budget they have (do they need a display too?) we can give you some sound advice hopefully.
     
  10. nanofrog macrumors G4

    Joined:
    May 6, 2008
    #10
    If they decide to go a multiple OS environment, it might be better to use a separate drive for each OS. At least for OS X and Windows. It eliminates issues with Boot Camp completely, as they don't share a drive this way. :)

    It could also help with the OS licensing issues with new purchases, as they're planned at least. But it can be a PITA having to reboot into different OS's constantly. DATA transfer becomes a little more important as well, if data from one app in OS X is needed for windows (and vice versa) as it's stored in different file systems (NTFS vs. HFS/+). Not that big of a deal, but still needs to be considered.

    VM would be fine for apps that don't use peripheral devices, but in the case of graphics, it's a NO GO.
    These details would help immensely, as we can't really advise any further. ;)
     
  11. alanlindsay macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    #11
    Here's one thing to consider. An i7 920 build will cost half as much as the base MP quad and have identical performance without overclocking and substantially higher performance if you overclock (which is easy ). If they will spend a lot of time in windows I think it's worth mentioning this option to your cousin & his partner.

    When I got my MBP ( Penryn 2.4 ) I remember looking at comparable models from Dell, HP, etc and noting Apple was roughly 20% more expensive which I was happy to pay for the pleasure of using OSX. The 2008 MP was even better costing pretty much the same as its rivals!

    Now you can buy an equivalent PC for half the price of a MP. Unless the software you're using is Apple only...an i7 build is really worth considering... my 2 cents anyway!
     
  12. Hubbu macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    #12
    Dell and HP have workstations that will run 3DS Max just fine. I've never used a Dell computer but my college uses HP workstations for the animation/3d departments. I just made a 3d car on them weeks ago on their HP's so I can safely say that I wish I had one of them. It just doesn't feel right having my poor MBP render a 5 second movie in 4 hours.. I should just get a desktop huh.

    Dell Precision Workstation ($1000-$2000): http://www.dell.com/business/workstations?~ck=mn#subcats=precndt&navla=67582~0~1467166&navidc=Price%20workstation&navValc=$1000%20-%20$2000&a=67582~0~1467166&page=1&sort=-price

    HP workstations ($1310-$5000): http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/e...station&psn=desktops_workstations/workstation


    If some of these choices don't come with a video card I would suggest looking into a workstation video card. nVidia Quadro and ATI FireGL are the workstation video cards to look for. If you don't have the cash for those the next best option would be one of the best gaming cards you can afford.
     
  13. Umbongo macrumors 601

    Umbongo

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2006
    Location:
    England
    #13
    Dell and HP workstations would be a good choice, you would also get good support, but I would wait for the new ones (using similar hardware as the new Mac Pros) before buying.
     
  14. Chaos123x macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
  15. apolloa macrumors G3

    apolloa

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    Time, because it rules EVERYTHING!
    #15
    Cinema 4D too, that's native on the Mac and it uses all cores and 64bit. Maya is still 32bit.
     

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